Innovasea helps Petros Aquaculture get approval for Aruba’s first open-ocean fish farm

Published on
May 24, 2023
The coastline of Aruba

Innovasea announced it has successfully helped Petros Aquaculture secure the needed government approvals to launch a 3,000-metric-ton (MT) open-ocean fish farm eight kilometers off the coast of Aruba.

The new farm, according to a releases from Innovasea, will farm northern red snapper using Innovasea’s “SeaStation” technology. The farm will be built in three phases, and will feature 16 SeaStations supported by a land-based hatchery with a future growth target of 9,000 MT of biomass and diversification into other species and seaweed cultivation. 

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Petros to create Aruba’s first ocean-based fish farm,” Innovasea Senior Vice President of Business Development Langley Gace said. “This is an important project for the country and the region and we’re confident that our open ocean expertise and our proven egg-to-harvest approach to fish farming will help ensure its success.” 

Petros Founder and President Gunnar Bracelly, in a forum on Afro-Caribbean trade and investment opportunities, shared that the three phases of the project will involve a total investment of USD 31 million (EUR 28.7 million) over seven years, of which USD 8 million (EUR 7.4 million) will be equity financing and USD 23 million (EUR 21.3 million) debt financing.  

“We are fortunate to have a strong partner in Innovasea, an industry leader in open ocean farming with proven experience with warm water species such as Red Snapper,” Bracelly said in a release.

Petros chose northern red snapper due to strong demand for it and the prices it commands, partially due to its limited seasonal availability, Gace said. He said open-ocean, submerged aquaculture platforms like SeaStation work well for Aruba because they are effectively invisible when submerged. 

“They’re a great fit for a place like Aruba where it’s important to preserve beautiful views for vacationers,” Gace said.

Tourism is the main source of income for Aruba, providing well over half of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Moody’s Analytics, and WorldData. 

The Petros project will target some of that tourist market, while also strengthening the food security of Aruba, Innovasea said.

“Being able to rely on Innovasea’s full-service capabilities enables our team to focus on implementing the bold vision of diversifying the Aruban economy and becoming the catalyst for an aquaculture revolution throughout the Caribbean region,” Bracelly said.

Innovasea has been actively working to help companies secure permitting for offshore aquaculture. In March, it announced it successfully helped Benguela Blue Aqua Farming secure permits to raise Atlantic salmon in submersible net pens eight kilometers off the coast of Namibia.  

Photo courtesy of Anhilator/Shutterstock

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